Self-reported sexually transmitted infections among adolescent girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa

Louis Kobina DADZIE, Ebenezer AGBAGLO, Joshua OKYERE, Richard Gyan ABOAGYE, Francis ARTHUR-HOLMES, Abdul-Aziz SEIDU, Bright Opoku AHINKORAH

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) affect individuals of all ages, but adolescent girls and young women are disproportionately affected. We examined the prevalence and factors associated with self-reported STIs (SR-STIs) among adolescent girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Demographic and Health Survey data of 27 sub-Saharan African countries were used for the study. The sample size comprised 68944 adolescent girls and young women (15–24 y of age). The outcome variable was SR-STIs. Multilevel binary logistic regression analysis was performed to identify factors associated with SR-STIs.

On average, the prevalence of SR-STIs among adolescent girls and young women in SSA was 6.92%. The likelihood of SR-STIs was higher among young women aged 20–24 y (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.36 [confidence interval {CI} 1.27 to 1.46]), those not married (aOR 1.64 [CI 1.51 to 1.79]), those working (aOR 1.20 [CI 1.12 to 1.27]), those whose age at first sex was ≤19 y (aOR 1.99 [CI 1.80 to 2.20]), those with two or more sex partners (aOR 1.56 [CI 1.35 to 1.80]), those who listened to radio (aOR 1.26 [CI 1.17 to 1.35]), those in urban areas (aOR 1.42 [CI 1.30 to 1.51]) and those with a wealth index of rich (aOR 1.28 [CI 1.17 to 1.40]) compared with their counterparts. In contrast, those with a primary (aOR 0.86 [CI 0.78 to 0.94]) or secondary/higher level of education (aOR 0.83 [CI 0.75 to 0.92]) compared with those with no formal education and those who were exposed to television (aOR 0.90 [CI 0.84 to 0.98]) compared with those who were not exposed were less likely to report STIs.

Our findings demonstrate the need for countries in SSA to commit towards reducing the incidence of STIs. Community-based health educational programs are required to intensify the awareness of STIs and their prevention in various sub-Saharan African countries considering the factors that expose adolescent girls and young women to STIs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-553
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Health
Issue number6
Early online date3 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.


  • adolescent girls
  • prevalence
  • self-reported sexually transmitted infections
  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • young women


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